OHA FACTS: Make safety part of your holiday celebrations; Funding not related to case or death counts

EDITOR’S NOTE:  With the highest daily case count today (Oct. 29th) in Oregon, folks need to re-think their Halloween plans.  We have had several inquiries:  “Is Halloween cancelled?”  No, but consider celebrating differently this year.  OHA has also asked Oregonians to change their Halloween plans. This means avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and costume parties with people outside their own households. There are many other cultural celebrations we can all enjoy this time of year — celebrate the harvest with a special seasonal meal or  join in the Hispanic celebration “Day of the Dead” remember our loved ones, or develop a new family tradition.  Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Portland, Ore.– With COVID-19 cases recently surging and the weather getting cooler, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) urges Oregonians to rethink holiday traditions to celebrate safely and still enjoy the season.

Along with the “three w’s” —wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently and watch your distance—OHA encourages everyone to participate in lower-risk activities to keep all Oregonians safe during the pandemic.

“Celebrating outside is safer than inside; just remember to dress in cold-weather gear and gather with fewer than 10 people,” said Shimi Sharief, one of the senior health advisors at OHA.

Other low-risk activities include making seasonal dishes with the people you live with, shopping locally or online and attending a virtual faith service.

It is safest to stay home and celebrate. If you decide to travel, go with members of your household and drive to your destination instead of flying, if possible. It’s a good idea to get a COVID-19 test before going anywhere, but it’s important to note that a negative test result is NOT a free pass. Some COVID-19 tests produce a high percentage of false negatives, so even if you test negative, follow stringent safety protocols if you travel.

While a COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available, getting a flu shot ahead of the holidays is especially important and can help avoid a “twindemic.” A flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, but vaccination has many other benefits. It’s safe and effective and part of a comprehensive public health strategy to reduce the burden of flu.

For more tips to stay safe all through the holiday season, check out these infographics and share them with your friends and family on your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Holiday Meal Safety - English

For television and radio media: Please note that short clips of OHA Senior Health Advisors Shimi Sharief and Claire Poche discussing OHA’s holiday recommendations in English and Spanish are available for you to download and use on our media resources page.

OHA Senior Health Advisor Shimi Sharief

Funding not related to case or death counts

We have noted some confusion about COVID-19 deaths and funding. OHA funding is not based on the number of COVID-19 cases or deaths we report. The number of cases or deaths that local public health departments report also does not have a connection to the funding they receive from OHA. Our goal in reporting data is to inform the public and share how, as a community, we can limit the effects of COVID-19.

Fact state and local health authorities do not receive more funding for reporting more COVID-19 deaths

Oregon wildfire survivors: How to spot fraud and scam artists

State and federal recovery officials urge Oregon residents to beware of and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals who may try to prey on survivors following the recent wildfires. Avoid scams and fraud by reading these fact vs. fiction myth busters from FEMA. You can also check out the video below for information on protecting yourself from fraud.

Oregon wildfire survivors How to spot fraud and scam artists